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360-degree video, IoT, VR, AR and more: analyst predicts future tech trends

Global analyst firm CCS Insight has announced its predictions for the media, internet and enterprise and mobile sectors for 2018 and beyond.

The predictions cover a broad array of technology areas, with references to the impact of artificial intelligence, the rise of internet players and their move towards the operator space, and the adoption of new business models as market competition heightens.

In total, CCS Insight has made 90 predictions. Here’s Installation‘s favourite ten:

Video becomes a hot topic for businesses in several industries in 2018.
Enterprises exploit the success of bring-your-own-device policies and the explosion of consumer apps to generate new ad-based revenue. Solution providers such as Netgem and Ericsson start to target specific sectors by selling ‘video as a service’. There is widespread deployment in aviation, hospitality and particularly in retail, where digital signage is used to advertise products and for sponsorship.

After successful trials by broadcasters, 360-degree content achieves a breakthrough in 2018.
Pilot projects include those conducted by BT, Formula One and Sky. In addition to standard TV coverage, 360-degree content is provided as a supplementary way to watch certain sports and events. Initially, curated 360-degree highlights are offered. As the technology develops, users will be able to switch between various cameras and change viewpoints using remote controllers or companion smartphone apps.

Smart glasses make a comeback in 2018.
Wearers put thoughts of ‘glassholes’ behind them as connected eyewear enjoys a renaissance. Advances in technology and miniaturisation and the brief popularity of Snap Spectacles brings fresh legitimacy to the category. New models look little different from ordinary glasses or sunglasses and support basic functions such as audio messages via bone conduction and visual prompts.

In 2018, smart speakers are combined with whole-home WiFi devices.
As smart devices become increasingly reliant on an uninterrupted internet connection, manufacturers integrate network coverage technologies into smart speakers. This helps the devices spread into more rooms in the house and ensures their continuous operation. Consumers are willing to spend more to gain reliable connectivity. The move is led by Google’s combination of its Home speaker and OnHub router devices.

Consumers’ first experience of HDR and 8K content comes from web providers in the next two years.
Traditional TV networks lag behind Web and telecom players in launching these video formats and are only starting to explore 4K technology. We expect new entrants in the video space, such as Facebook, to introduce new features far more quickly than Amazon and Netflix.

Google creates Android IoT by the end of 2018.
Google has several technologies, including Android Things, Eddystone, Nest, Thread, Weave and Google Cloud IoT Core. They serve a range of areas, but appear as a set of components without a coherent strategy or brand to link them. It has a cloud platform, but lacks the edge component provided by Amazon Web Services Greengrass or Microsoft’s Azure IoT Edge. Google aims to bridge this gap by launching a distributed cloud and artificial intelligence service to rival other solutions.

Smart home devices start to monitor the health and well-being of occupants in 2019.
The addition of artificial intelligence capabilities lets smart home sensors progress beyond simple measurements such as air quality and temperature. They can track all aspects of people’s daily lives including sleep, movement, calorie intake and more. They are particularly suited to vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly.

Shipments of virtual reality headsets rise more than fivefold between 2017 and 2021.
Driven primarily by demand for smartphone-based experiences, global shipments of virtual reality devices will grow from 16 million in 2017 to almost 91 million in 2021. Sales of dedicated virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive will rocket tenfold over the same period, but they will form a small proportion of the market owing to their greater cost and the need for a separate computing device.

Augmented reality becomes a normal part of buying some items by 2021.
Thanks to Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, augmented reality becomes a regularly used feature of the purchase process in developed markets. Retailers offer apps that let buyers preview virtual versions of products such as furniture, clothing and fashion accessories in real-world settings.

By 2021, the lack of competent digital plumbers inhibits the smart home device market.
Mounting interest in smart home solutions sees a surge in tradespeople focussing on installation of such systems. They also support the burgeoning as-a-service smart home market. However, the relative scarcity of skilled engineers and the rising complexity of smart home systems mean some potential purchasers are forced to delay installation.

Westerners born in 2017 will be the last adults to need passwords.
By the time people born in this year start using authentication features, biometrics will have replaced internet passwords. Cash machines and card payments will remain the last bastion of PINs.

Shaun Collins, CEO, CCS Insight, said: “This year marks our 12th set of predictions and the transitions we are seeing across our markets have never been more acute. Thanks to ever greater computing power, ubiquitous connectivity and the rise of artificial intelligence and neural networks, we anticipate an increasing rate of disruption across all areas of the economy and people’s lives.

“With anticipated consolidation across multiple industries and major players such as Facebook, Apple and Amazon all beginning to move into new sectors such as sports broadcasting, security and automotive, the market is moving at a pace we haven’t experienced in 20 years.”

CCS Insight